When I first heard of this anthology, Because You Love to Hate Me, I was extremely excited. The idea sounded so enticing and I couldn’t wait to see how the various authors would approach their prompts. With so many great people working on this, I couldn’t wait to be wowed. Needless to say, this belonged to my most anticipated reads of 2017. Sadly, I walked away with mixed feelings.
Food writer travels through Tuscany on a bulldozer — such a bizarre and hilarious image this premise painted. It sounded so ludicrous and I have to admit, it made me think of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. That set the bar of absurd humour unfairly high but I couldn’t help it. Perhaps it’s a good thing then, that My Italian Bulldozer wasn’t filled with tall tales, even if that slightly disappointed me.
A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares was yet another book from Krystal Sutherland that made me cry. Something about the way she writes and crafts her characters make them so relatable. The emotions are so palpable, it’s impossible not to feel something for the characters. I think that’s what made this book particularly great. There was nuance in the way mental health was dealt with several times over.
The opening chapter of Release gave me pause for the extent to which it borrowed from the beginnings of Mrs Dalloway. I knew that Ness took inspiration from Mrs Dalloway and Forever by Judy Blume. I’ve read the former, but not the latter. And let’s just say, I didn’t like that classic very much. I gave it 0.5 stars, although I could see what Virginia Woolf had meant to accomplish. But I’ve adored past books of Patrick Ness, so I was curious.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass is a retelling of retellings, a simulacrum if you will. After all, it was inspired by Frozen, Snow White and the Huntsman and The Bloody Chamber. Despite the extent to which this book was built on multiple stories, I thought the world building as well as the plot showcased Bashardoust’s creativity. The setting in particular, charmed me, and I loved how well it was woven together with the overarching plot.